The General Auditing Commission or GAC has released the long awaited forensic audit of the US$25 million mop-up exercise, citing discrepancies in the US$ 11 million that were exchanged at the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), though it also reported other variances from teams stationed outside the CBL.
The report did not point to any foul play, neither did it say members of the Technical Economic Management Team participated in the money transaction rather than at the approval level. But it cited discrepancies that is between summary and detail report that could be more of an error-something that could also be attributed to quality and capacity issues at the bank.
“The money issued from the vault daily and disbursed to beneficiaries from the bank’s United States Dollars operational vault was not posted to the bank’s accounting system in real time. For example money taken from the vault between the periods July 17 – 31, 2018 was not posted to the vault until August 1, 2018 in lump sum amounts,” the report said.
The GAC’s report also dispute reports that the entire USD15 million of the mopped up money were taken outside of the bank, rather an amount of US$4million were taken and exchanged outside of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), while US11 million were exchanged inside the CBL and US$2 million auctioned to Total Liberian Inc.
The total amount brought back to the CBL was LRD2.3 billion which were later disbursed to Commercial Banks during the Christmas season.
The GAC was ordered by President George Weah to perform further investigation into the US$25m mopping up money following reports by the Presidential Investigation Team, which called for a forensic investigation of the entire Mop-up Exercise carried out by the CBL and the Scoping Report done by the Kroll Associates Inc. It also follows public outcry after the release of the initial reports.
Although the auditing agency reported discrepancies and variances, a felt short of saying whether some of the money were unaccounted for.
According to the GAC there was a variance of US$ 1,839.529.54 between the amounts sold per the summary report provided by the CBL for beneficiaries and the amounts actually confirmed by the beneficiary.
The report said about eighty-nine (89) beneficiaries with total amount of US$ 5,670,880.00 could not confirm the amounts in United States Dollars (US$) transacted with the CBL.
The head of CBL Banking Division, Mr. Dorbor Habga who at the time supervises money transactions or operations at the time is apparently on bail in a separate case involving the alleged printing of excess LRD2.3 billion
According to the GAC, documents provided by the Department of Research, Policy and Planning at the CBL recommended the auction was to be conducted with businesses in these categories; “Major Importers 60%, Small Liberian Businesses 25% and Foreign Exchange Bureaus 15%. The amount was to be auction at the rate of L$ 155: US$ 1 which was approved by then Deputy Governor for Operations, Charles E. Sirleaf.-More details to come later